Venture For America’s mission is to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs. Our Accelerator serves as a foundational piece of a Fellow’s Fellowship experience if they have entrepreneurial ambitions.
Fellow Founders can join the Accelerator after they’ve completed our two-year Fellowship and participated in programming: ideation sessions to identify problems and brainstorm solutions, validation challenges to validate their product or idea, and pitch opportunities to further validate their business in the market. After leveraging these opportunities, Fellow Founders who have a keen desire and preparedness to take the next steps to turn their passion into a full-time business venture seek out our Accelerator.
What is the VFA Accelerator?
The Accelerator is a four month virtual program for seven to eight Fellow-Founded companies in the market validation to early traction stages. With VFA’s mission to support Fellows en route to their entrepreneurial dreams, the Accelerator is zero equity and provides Founders with access to more than 50 business and industry mentors across the country, weekly one-on-one accountability and support meetings with the VFA Team, and a community to grow with, since the companies competing are just like theirs. Since the Accelerator cohorts are traditionally small, the program’s curriculum is closely designed to meet the companies’ specific business challenges. At its conclusion, Founders get an opportunity to pitch to the broader Venture For America community at Demo Day, and can win up to $10,000.
Overall, the goal is that upon completing the Accelerator, Fellow Founders have clear next steps for their business, have made significant progress on their business, are more confident in their ability to found and grow a company, have had access to mentorship and learnings that are otherwise difficult to engage, and feel supported by VFA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This Year’s Cohort
After an intensive selection process we’re excited to announce our 2021 cohort of seven companies:
- Athlytic Inc. | Ashton Keys ‘19, Detroit & Jared Eummer ‘19, Cleveland – A fully-integrated marketplace that connects student athletes with endorsement partners.
- bubuleh | Jordan Star ‘16, Pittsburgh – A sustainable and genderless clothing brand that celebrates Yiddish, Jewish heritage, culture, and family by putting older ideas and beliefs into conversation with newer aesthetics and styles.
- Everdura | Emily Miller ‘19, Baltimore – An online Latin American grocery delivery service.
- Halal Beauty | Adeel Afshar ‘19, Baltimore – 100% Halal Certified Cosmetics for Muslims who want to look and feel beautiful without compromising on their faith.
- Kuna Swimwear | Kathryn Booker ‘19, Cleveland – A closed-loop swimsuit company dedicated to protecting our oceans.
- Oasis | Mike Lee ‘18, Philadelphia – Decentralizing the agricultural industry by equipping cultivators with open and accessible tools to power the future of food, medicine, and materials production.
- Zapenda | Stella Safari ‘13, Detroit – For the African Diaspora who cannot access quality African fabrics and tailoring, Zapenda provides this customized experience. Unlike other emerging African brands, Zapenda offers customization and one of a kind pieces that are handmade by professional tailors in the Congo.
Stay tuned to Venture For America’s social channels for more information and updates on this year’s Accelerator cohort. And don’t forget to join us later this year for our annual Demo Day celebration to see our Fellow Founders in action as they vie for up to $10,000 in prizes.